The Uvalde school board has called a special session to consider whether Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo should be fired following the delayed police response in killing a gunman that fatally shot 19 children and two teachers in May.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, Arredondo officially resigned from his position on the Uvalde, Texas City Council on July 2. He was placed on administrative leave from his police chief duties in mid July and the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District postponed their decision on whether to fire Arredondo in late July, placing him instead on administrative leave.
Gunman Salvador Ramos entered the Robb Elementary School at 11:33 am on May 24, and police were on the scene in minutes. As Ramos went to rooms 111 and 112, police did not make an attempt to enter or breach the doors, which were later revealed to be unlocked. Ramos hid in the classrooms and the massacre continued while surveillance video shows officers standing idly by while children screamed only feet away.
Arredondo arrived on scene without a radio but made a call to dispatch at 11:40 am saying "We're inside the building, he's in one room," and "I need a lot of firepower, so I need this building surrounded. Surrounded with as many AR-15s as possible."
Arredondo proceeded to check for keys that would access the unlocked room and tried a set on an entirely different classroom door safely away from the shooter.
At 12:16 pm, a child was on an emergency line reporting that several kids were still alive and begged for police to enter. In response, Chief Arredondo reportedly said, "Tell them to f*cking wait"
Outside parents were detained and handcuffed as they wanted to rush in and save their dying children.
At 12:23pm he was told that they'd already lost two kids, but responded "we have to put those aside right now" because he was afraid that bullets could break through the thin walls. He continued to wait for more gear and men.
The report by the Texas House found that nearly 400 local, state, and federal officers waited outside the Uvalde school as Ramos targeted the children. County Commissioner John Yeackle said that, despite the massive law enforcement presence, "no one seemed to know who was in charge."
Arredondo was in charge and the report by the Texas House confirmed he was in the role of incident commander on that day.
Before Ramos was eventually terminated at 12:50, almost an hour and a half later, at the hands of a Border Patrol tactical team.
Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw summarized the failures of the Uvalde police, especially Chief Arredondo, by saying simply that the gunman could have been neutralized in "three minutes." The Texas House report also confirmed that Arredondo acted too slowly.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, the Wednesday meeting will be open to the public and will be held at 5:30 pm in the Benson Board Room at 601 Dean St. in Uvalde.
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